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Report: International Day in Solidarity with Haiti (Los Angeles)

by Ross Plesset Saturday, Feb. 10, 2007 at 6:00 PM

The grassroots resistance in Haiti called for international solidarity on or about February 7. Activists on four different continents participated. Here in Southern California, over 30 people demonstrated in front of the Brazilian Consulate in Beverly Hills. (Brazil is heading the UN “peacekeeping” mission in Haiti.)

Report: Internationa...
haitidemo_group.jpg, image/jpeg, 1024x768

The grassroots resistance in Haiti called for international solidarity on or about February 7. Activists on four different continents participated. Here in Southern California, over 30 people demonstrated in front of the Brazilian Consulate in Beverly Hills. (Brazil is heading the UN “peacekeeping” mission in Haiti.) The demands: *Stop UN “Peacekeeper” Massacres and Sexual Abuse in Haiti *Free All Political Prisoners *End Foreign Occupation of Haiti *Respect Haiti’s Sovereignty—Return President Aristide. (Full announcement of the action here: http://www.globalwomenstrike.net/Haiti/Haiti%20Actions%207%20Feb.htm.)

Even before many demonstrators showed up, security people appeared and made it known what they would not allow: we could not stand within a certain distance of the building; and as per Beverly Hills law, no microphones could be used without a permit. Police observed us throughout the event.

The protest lasted for about an hour with people holding signs, banners, and Haitian flags while loudly chanting slogans such as: “U.S., UN out of Haiti!” and “Hey-hey! Ho-ho! UN troops have got to go!”

The event culminated with a series of statements by local activists. Margaret Prescod of Global Women’s Strike (one of the groups that organized the demonstration) and host of KPFK’s Sojourner Truth could not attend--she was in Washington state to support Ehren Watada--but sent her greetings.
Noluthando Williams, founding member of Coalition in Solidarity with Haiti (CISH), announced that we were standing in solidarity with Haiti supporters around the world. In South Africa, “people from over 34 shanty towns” demonstrated on the previous day. Their message (paraphrased): "The UN troops led by Brazil have got to go. They have got to leave Haiti now."

Also, “We stand in solidarity with the 6,000 youth and students who took to the streets of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil yesterday to say that the UN troops have got to go,” she added.

“We stand up for the four–year-olds, the seven-year-olds, the nine-year-old children that were all killed just within the last week by UN troops.

“We stand for those thousands of Haitians—tens of thousands-plus--who have been murdered since 2004. Who’s leading this mission? The UN. Who’s leading the UN mission? Brazil. It has got to stop.

“They’re not going after thugs—they’re going after the people’s movement.

“We in L.A. stand with Haiti because Haiti has the right to be free.”

She also discussed Haiti’s role in bringing freedom to South America in 1804. “They stood up for freedom: they made sure that Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela--all those members of the Bolivarian Revolution--were able to be free. And all that they asked for in repayment--for giving them arms, and training, and any kind of political support they needed—was that ‘you free your slaves.’”

Williams continued: “We’re here today to say that the world cannot be free until Haiti is free. The world will not be free unless Haiti is free! That’s the bottom line. That’s why the UN troops have got to go.”

Mpinduzi Khuthaza of Coalition in Solidarity with Haiti (CISH) stated that “we stand in solidarity with our people in Haiti for their right to self-determination, their right to live in a free society, their right to be free from oppression, their right to determine who their leaders are.

“And President Aristide was the democratic[ally]-elected president of that country. We must not forget the role of the U.S. government, the Canadians, and the French in terms of going in, kidnapping President Aristide, overturning all of the institutions, and setting up a government that would be in favor to them. Even though the Brazilians are leading the United Nations, we have to condemn that, too. But we also got to keep our eyes on who the main enemies are: the U.S. government, Canada, and the French.

“And so we must continue to raise the issue of Haiti, keep Haiti at the forefront. All this propaganda that is being thrown by the corporate media, we must begin to stand up and counter that. Talk to your friends, talk to your brothers and sisters, your [inaudible]. Make sure you always stand up for what is right. Long live Haiti!”

The floor was then given to local activist Jeb Sprague(1). When Sprague visited Haiti last August, he saw bullets “everywhere” on streets near Cite Soleil. “It’s a massive firefight and slaughter that’s going on,” he stated.

Also, Sprague recently learned, vis-à-vis a Freedom of Information Act request, that “the U.S. ambassador was actually complaining that MINUSTAH [the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti. See: http://www.un.org/Depts/dpko/missions/minustah/] was using too many bullets on attacks. On one attack on one [house] in Cite Soleil, they expended 22,000 bullets. Imagine [the LAPD] expending 22,000 bullets in a raid in Los Angeles. Even the LAPD wouldn’t use that many rounds. In Haiti, it’s totally insane. They’re killing thousands of innocent people.

“ . . . Another thing is the UN has been coming in with helicopters and shooting down from the sky, so it’s not a targeted attack. It’s pretty random where the bullets fall. We know this not only because people say they got shot by the helicopters, but if you look at a lot of the photos, people [have been] shot on the top of their heads, the tin roofs of buildings are splattered with bullet holes.”

He added: “Besides killing people since the 2004 coup in Haiti, there’s also been a massive neoliberal privatization going on. In my opinion, that’s really the root of why they tried to overthrow Aristide and destabilize Fanmi Lavalas(2). If you go back to 1996 when Fanmi Lavalas was founded, the main thrust of [Aristide’s] speeches, which received very little coverage, . . . were speaking out against neoliberalism.”

John Parker of the International Action Center drew a parallel between the recent deportations and raids here in the U.S. and the repression in Haiti. “Whenever people stand up and fight for justice and challenge imperialism, that’s when the repression starts. And because the immigrant community came up, and we saw millions in the streets nationwide, the repression is starting to come down in these deportations and raids. Because Haiti stood up and defied slavery(3) with an example for the whole world, the repression is still going on. . . .”

“When I went to Haiti for a tribunal and we took evidence of all the atrocities that were going on, horrible things were happening: mothers losing their children and just the day-to-day assault on the children, things that would just make you cringe. But yet, just like immigrant community that refuses to stop fighting, the Haitian people never stop fighting. That’s why we cannot stop fighting either.”

A Haitian, who grew up in the Caribbean nation, underscored that the UN is not in Haiti to create infrastructure. “Haiti is in need of jobs--that’s not what the UN is doing. They’re not going to put [in] water pipes, they’re not going to put in gas lines. They’re killing the people because Haiti was the first country that stood up against their master.

“ . . . Take the people that want to destroy the Haitian people, take the people that want to destroy the black people, [and] kick them out, kick the Bush administration out of Haiti. Free Haiti!”

The crowd shouted “Free Haiti now!!”



---

(1)Sprague also mentioned a Haitian media collective that he is involved with.“What we do is we have [groups] in Haiti that sends us articles. We’re translating them and trying to get them out to alternative media sources in the United States and Europe. One problem right now is that the news in Haiti all goes through corporate intermediaries, so we only get news from highly-paid media journalists and the like. So what we would like to do is get media more directly from poor people in the slums of Haiti.” (His website is: http://www.freehaiti.net/.)

(2)Lavalas, in Hatian Creole, means “flashflood.” It is the name of Aristide’s movement, which “flooded” across Haiti. Source: the Porto Alegre Declaration on Haiti, January 2005

(3)"Haiti became the first Black Republic in 1804 when its enslaved people defeated Napoleon's army, the most powerful of its day, and abolished slavery. Ever since, Haiti has stood for Black liberation and the liberation of oppressed people everywhere. Haiti offered Simon Bolivar refuge, guns, and other supplies and led the way for the abolition of slavery throughout the Americas. The colonial powers have punished Haiti ever since. . . ." -- Porto Alegre Declaration on Haiti, January 2005.

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"Free political prisoners"

by Ross Plesset Saturday, Feb. 10, 2007 at 6:00 PM

"Free political...
haitidemo_freeprisoners.jpg, image/jpeg, 768x1024

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Demonstration from across the street

by Ross Plesset Saturday, Feb. 10, 2007 at 6:00 PM

Demonstration from a...
haitidemo3.jpg, image/jpeg, 2592x1944

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"Lula"

by Ross Plesset Saturday, Feb. 10, 2007 at 6:00 PM

"Lula"...
haitidemo_lula.jpg, image/jpeg, 768x1024

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"U.S., UN OUT."

by Ross Plesset Saturday, Feb. 10, 2007 at 6:00 PM

"U.S., UN OUT.&...
haitidemousunout.jpg, image/jpeg, 768x1024

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"End foreign occupation..."

by Ross Plesset Saturday, Feb. 10, 2007 at 6:00 PM

"End foreign oc...
haitidemosign.jpg, image/jpeg, 768x1024

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"The L.A. Times Lies About Haiti"

by Ross Plesset Saturday, Feb. 10, 2007 at 6:00 PM

"The L.A. Times...
haitidemo_timeslies.jpg, image/jpeg, 768x1024

In 2005, Ira Kurzban (President Aristide's lawyer) stated: "of all the reporters in America, the worst reporter on Haiti is here in Los Angeles. She [Carol Williams of the Los Angeles Times] has written things that are totally fraudulent. I've been at demonstrations where there was 100,000 people; she said there was 5,000 people there." Full story: http://la.indymedia.org/news/2005/10/137011_comment.php?theme=default

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Protester

by Ross Plesset Saturday, Feb. 10, 2007 at 6:00 PM

Protester...
haitidemo6.jpg, image/jpeg, 1024x768

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Microphones are not allowed in Beverly Hills without a permit.

by Ross Plesset Saturday, Feb. 10, 2007 at 6:00 PM

Microphones are not ...
haitidemo_cop1.jpg, image/jpeg, 1024x768

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Don White and a cop

by Ross Plesset Saturday, Feb. 10, 2007 at 6:00 PM

Don White and a cop...
haitidemo_cop2.jpg, image/jpeg, 1024x768

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Keeping an eye on us

by Ross Plesset Saturday, Feb. 10, 2007 at 6:00 PM

Keeping an eye on us...
haitidemo_motorcycle.jpg, image/jpeg, 1024x768

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The speaking begins, but the mike is about to go off.

by Ross Plesset Saturday, Feb. 10, 2007 at 6:00 PM

The speaking begins,...
haitidemo4speaker.jpg, image/jpeg, 768x1024

The speaker was able to talk loudly, even though she said she was having problems with her voice that day.

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